Exclusively in the FIFA Weekly, we speak to Tokyo Sexwale, a former freedom fighter who stood alongside Nelson Mandela, who discussed his new initiative to help purge racism from sport.
'Global Watch' will launch its global charter and barometer in Johannesburg on 20 November to try to help eliminate the scourge of racial discrimination in a coordinated effort across the planet. “Racism-discrimination is a society problem,” Sexwale told the FIFA Weekly. “It’s like a monster that is trying now to infiltrate sporting fields. If we don’t stand up, if we allow racism to overpower sport, we will be doomed to existence in a hostile world.”
The former prisoner of Robben Island during South Africa's apartheid revealed that this is a quest that Mandela's legacy lives on in, with its inception dating back to before the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. “We all took the decision to fight racism – not just in sport, in the whole world. Focusing on only football gives the impression that racism is a FIFA problem. This is erroneous.”
While there are many efforts across the globe to battle racism in the field of sport, Sexwale wants this latest initiative to bring them all together. “To date there is no global, centralized and coordinated leadership in this battle in all sport. That is what’s missing and this is what Global Watch will provide.”
Sexwale also hopes the upcoming summit will allow for discussion on the tricky issue of how to tackle offenders. “Emptying a stadium is not necessarily the most appropriate punishment,” he argued. “Should thousands suffer because of one fool who threw a banana. Relegation is tricky too. Do we really want to relegate a team because of a few racist fans?”
Read more in the 17 October edition of the FIFA Weekly.